Brisbane, Australia () — A 95-year-old woman has died after she was electrocuted by a police officer with a stun gun last week at her nursing home in Australia, New South Wales Police said Wednesday.
Clare Nowland, a 95-year-old great-grandmother, was in critical condition in hospital due to severe head injuries she sustained when she fell to the ground after being electrocuted.
“Ms. Nowland passed away peacefully at the hospital just after 7pm this afternoon, surrounded by family and loved ones who have asked for privacy during this sad and difficult time,” police said in a statement posted on Facebook.
The officer who allegedly electrocuted Nowland was charged with several counts, including reckless felony injury and assault.
New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb announced the charges against the 33-year-old officer, who has not been identified, on Wednesday.
Last week, New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Peter Cotter told reporters that officers had gone to Nowland’s residence in Cooma, New South Wales, at around 4:15 a.m. early in the morning, after being told that a resident had a knife.
“At the time she was electrocuted, she was approaching the police. It’s fair to say at a slow pace. She had a walker. But she was carrying a knife,” Cotter told reporters Friday.
Two police body cameras recorded the incident, but the footage has not been made public.
NSW Police guidelines say stun guns should only be used on elderly or disabled people in “exceptional circumstances”.
Andrew Thaler, a family friend, stated that, prior to the incident, Nowland was frail and unable to stand without assistance. He only weighed 43 kilos, was 1.58 meters tall and suffered from dementia.
After the charges were filed, he wondered why the police had taken so long to act.
“Why did it take so long? Anyone else would have been charged immediately,” Thaler said.
Earlier this week, Nowland’s family released a statement asking for privacy and thanking people for their support.
“Clare is the loving and kind matriarch of the Nowland family,” the statement read, according to affiliate 9 News.
“This is a very worrying and distressing time for our family and we are united in our support for Clare and each other.”
“We stand united. We thank everyone here in Cooma, in the wider region, and indeed across the country and around the world for the outpouring of support for her and her ongoing battle with dementia, which touches so many. “.